By Fady Khoury
Ronen Barany, an Israeli filmmaker, directed a short five-minute film called “The Last Day,” depicting, from his point of view, what an Iranian nuclear attack would look and feel like. With lots of convincing visual effects and truly remarkable acting skills provided by volunteers who participated, this short film has an emotional impact on viewers. You can see for yourselves (viewer discretion is advised):
For the fainthearted amongst our readers, the plot goes something like this:
The film, which is presented as a visual United Nations document, occurs on February 23, 2013. It opens with footage of missiles going through the blue sky and in the background a haunting alarm. A frightened couple gets in a hurry into their car and attempts to flee the bombed Jerusalem area, to the woman’s parents’ home. Mushroom clouds of smoke are seen on the horizon and in the background a voice of a radio broadcaster reading news updates. All of a sudden, a bright white flash covers the screen indicating that the Iranians dropped a nuclear bomb in a distant area. The couple notices that there are people in the middle of the road and get out in order to see if they need help. There, a woman is kneeling on the ground holding her son who did not close his eyes when the flash occurred. Now he cannot see clearly. Mushroom cloud footage appears and later a car arrives to the scene with a wounded man who gets taken out and is laid on the ground. While people are yelling, an alarm is going off, a couple of military aircrafts fly over and a nuclear bomb is dropped nearby creating a huge explosion and a fitting shock wave while someone in the back cries, “Where is our military?!!” The couple tries to flee the scene and then the footage gets disturbed, marking the end of “The Last Day.”
In a piece (in Hebrew) he wrote about the film on Channel 2’s news website, Barany explains that:
Several hours passed from the moment this video was uploaded to the web until this huge snowball was created, and it did not take long for the reactions to arrive. Some thought I chose the right-wing’s side, which encourages an attack on Iran, others even argued that this was left-wing propaganda, the goal of which is to scare the public and hurt morale, but the truth is different. I, a father of two children and a grandson of a Holocaust survivor, hear twice a week how world leaders seek to wipe us (Israel) off the map. In a world where fear of nuclear weapons is a common concern, not only Israel’s, I decided that I wanted to convey the sense of this existential fear which we all share. This is the reason for why I am convinced and even glad that to each their own interpretation – from all sides of the political spectrum.
The film received mixed reactions. Some viewers reacted harshly describing it as fear-generating propaganda that ignores Israel’s military capabilities. Others perceived it positively as showing what would happen if the Iranian nuclear project is not nipped in the bud. Either way, one cannot watch this shocking film without flinching.
More speculatively, I wonder when Israel is going to use this film in an international Hasbara campaign.
Fady Khoury is a legal intern at Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not Adalah.